Technology, fitness enhancements help Devereux Pennsylvania students achieve success
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania is promoting healthy minds and bodies, and helping students achieve success through advancements in technology and fitness.
With federal grant funds, Devereux recently purchased smartboards (interactive whiteboards), Chromebook laptops, iPads and other technology for the Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services center and the Devereux Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES). The organization also purchased new fitness equipment for Devereux CARES.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to keep our students motivated, engaged – and moving,” said Devereux Vice President of Educational Services Jacalyn Auris, Ed.D. “Our technology upgrades will ensure students continue to receive the best possible education, whether they are learning virtually or in the classroom, and our new fitness equipment will help improve students’ physical and mental health and overall well-being.”
New tech tools, STEM initiative
Devereux Pennsylvania students will use the Chromebooks to complete assignments and activities, and the iPads as a communication tool. The smartboards will help teachers make their classrooms as interactive as possible.
“Our teachers have received comprehensive training on ClearTouch software and how to utilize the interactive whiteboards for lesson development and engaging instruction. We want to enhance our students’ learning experience, and the smartboards, along with the other technology upgrades will help bring lessons and activities to life,” explained Devereux Director of Student Services Colleen Katzenmoyer, Ed.D.
With additional grant funds, Devereux has partnered with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) to provide a multiyear science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for students at Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services’ Glenmoore and Malvern locations.
“The CCIU’s Innovative Education Services division, which integrates technology and professional learning to transform educational experiences for students, has developed virtual STEM modules that we will pilot this summer during our extended school year services,” shared Katzenmoyer. “The CCIU also has provided professional development to our teachers to implement these modules. This is a wonderful opportunity for our staff to expand their skills in STEM instruction, while also offering valuable content and activities for our students focused on STEM initiatives.”
CCIU Director of Innovative Educational Services Noreen O’Neill, Ed.D., also noted, “This partnership allows the CCIU to serve Devereux teachers by providing them with tools to enhance their skillsets and deliver meaningful STEM lessons, which in turn will produce better learning opportunities for students.”
A focus on fitness
The new physical education equipment at Devereux CARES, including a traverse wall (horizontal climbing wall), adaptive putt-putt set, tricycles, bicycles, treadmills and scooters, will be used to enhance student wellness.
“Our students love the traverse wall – it has been fun to watch them challenge themselves,” said Devereux CARES Physical Therapist Kelle Mericle. “This gives them an opportunity to enhance their motor planning skills and strengthen their extremities and core. Our students also enjoy playing putt-putt – they understand the goal of the game, and it helps them develop both gross and fine motor skills. All of our fitness equipment will assist our students in increasing their mobility, flexibility and stability.”
In addition, Devereux CARES has teamed up with Austill’s Educational Therapy Services to provide additional movement and sensory activities for students.
“Working with Devereux CARES related services experts, Austill’s therapists offer adaptive physical education opportunities, including sensory walks and yoga,” explained Katzenmoyer. “These safe and specialized programs provide an opportunity for our team members to build their skillset working with students with various physical needs. The programs also target some of the physical learning loss our students with more complex needs experienced during the pandemic. With all of our fitness and technology enhancements, we are focused on whole-person health with the goal of helping our students achieve their full potential.”
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